It hasn't been a very memorable debut for head coach Paul Chryst. Chryst began the day having to suspend six players from the season-opener; Chris Davis, Tyrone Ezell, Anthony Gonzalez, Shayne Hale, Ronald Jones and Rushel Shell. Then, heavy rain and possible lightning delayed the kickoff to 6:30 pm.
But, like they say, it only counts on the scoreboard. However, that only adds to the downer of a day it's been so far for Chryst in his debut, as his Pitt Panthers trail Youngstown State, 14-10.
Youngstown State has been very fluid on offense converting two touchdown drives that each lasted over 10 plays including one that took 7:33 off the clock.
Penguin quarterback Kurt Hess has two touchdown passes on the day; a 27-yarder to Andre Hess and a 14-yarder to Will Shaw, which has his team up.
At the same time, Pitt has not been able to establish any pressure on defense. The Panther defense has eight first-time starters, including three on the defensive line, Youngstown State has converted 6-7 third down attempts for the game. The only one they missed on was after a hurry from defensive tackle Aaron Donald forced Hess to throw earlier on the previous second down play, setting up a 3rd-and-long situation.
The question on everyone's mind entering today was whether or not Ray Graham would start. He did, but Pitt's ground attack has been a non-factor. Surprisingly, Graham has handled the workload with 11 carries for 62 yards. Isaac Bennett has just 5 carries for 11 yards. Those are the only two running backs to take carries. Sunseri has been efficient throwing the ball; completing 11-17 for 140 yards, no sacks and no interceptions. Tight ends Hubie Graham and J.P. Holtz have combined for 3 of those 11 completions, while Shanahan leads the way with 6 catches for 54 yards.
Second half from Heinz Field coming up.